Frogwell Fings - August / September 2009
What a long long time for Boss to take down my trotterhand. I am seriously thinking of trading him in for a more efficient model. (He is now over sixty, how long do these umans go on for!!). The trouble is, he has now expanded the pig herd. We have got pedigree kune kune pigs - Bubble, Squeak and Arthur.
Boss didnít think he was going to like them, after keeping us Saddlebacks for years. But him n missus are totally enamoured with them and they are going to move them down close to the shop entrance, for the public to see. Bloody foreigners coming over here from New Zealand, distracting my boss. I donít really care because Boss has put two Gloucestershire Old Spot sows in with me, which makes a change from my usual Saddleback wives. As well as the Kune Kunes and Old Spots, he has bought Oxford and Sandy Blacks. He wants to slowly increase his numbers of rare breed pigs.
This is all very well, as long as he doesnít neglect me and Bert. I take back what I previously said about Bert, he is not inferior, he has grown into a really handsome chap. He is a Carl line saddleback boar and boss reckons he could be a show winner if he could ever get him in a trailer. The only trailer I want to see him in is the one heading for the sausage factory !!!!
Boss cant keep up with the demand for in-pig gilts and breeding stock or weaners come to that. There is a huge upsurge in people keeping their own pigs for pork and bacon and he is selling hundreds of arks and weaners to go in them. A lot of our customers welcome his free advice on the pigs and the experienced ones just appreciate the good standard of stock we produce and the quality of our arks. He nearly choked on his cornflakes yesterday - evidently B&Q, one of these DIY chains, are going to sell pig arks !! That should be funny, asking some pimply faced 16 year old advice on ark sizes - he wouldnít know a farrowing bar, if it jumped in the air and rammed him in his posterior !!
There are lots of cheapjack ark companies starting up. Boss isnít worried, when the purchasers pigs put their feet straight through a flimsy half inch floor or, even worse, crash over and slip on the smooth plywood and sprain themselves, then they will wish they had one of our non slip floors !!! Boss is really pigheaded when it comes to quality, he refuses to cut the quality of the materials. There is one so called major manufacturer of pig arcs out there, who up until two or three years ago, used all internal grade screws on their pig arks. It is all coming home to roost now because, over time these screws corrode, and the ark falls to pieces. He has one in his field and the front is falling out - this is just not fair to the customer, who paid for a product that should stand the test of time.
Boss has some of these arks at the farm and I think he is going to ask trading standards to get involved as he is fed up of being taken for a mug. These same people have the forum sites full up with their cronies all hiding behind made up names - there is one outspoken idiot called ?ickhead or something like that. Boss has got to watch what he is saying as evidently this bloke can carry a pig ark on his back, up a Scottish hill. Must be superstrong or a flimsy lightweight ark !!
The first cow went to cow heaven four weeks ago.
Boss was going to keep her but she came in season, bellowing all night, keeping me awake. Her leapt the fence into my paddock and destroyed all the electric fence lines, keeping us pigs apart. That was it !!! She was in the trailer and gone - missus collected her today or rather her in bits.
Us pigs have got to be careful as boss worked it out, the beef packs they sold through the shop, gave them a £650.00 profit. I can see his head buzzin - get rid of us and get more calves - he has eight in the barn now that he reared from five day old. He is selling them on the hoof this time. He will come to his senses. My girls have over two litters a year average, ten in a litter - thatís a lot of pigs. He had to wait for two years for Daisyís profit.!!!!
Nothings easy on his farm - whenever you have livestock, you have rats. I see them come into my pen every night, they have no chance of a free meal in my place, I clear every pellet but the weaners down the alley, have these ad-lib hoppers so they can eat all the time. The vermin have a field day in there. Boss puts traps down and poison plus four working jack Russell terriers, one of them Titch is a real smart arse when she gets one, she tosses it in the air, catches it on the way down and then snaps their necks.
The rats are under our floors in the fixed pig houses so boss has now got a new secret weapon, a polecat ferret Ė he has called it Brian. He is going to put leads on the terriers and send Brian in under the houses, to drive the varmints out.
I can see this cunning plan ending in disaster, the terriers are already hell bent on trying to kill the ferret . Boss has already got him in a £399.00 chicken house and run - talk about spoilt !! All because he didnít have the time to build a ferret house.
Boss injected us all last week, evidently this stuff kills lice, worms and bugs from the inside out. He bought one of those gadgets that has a syringe and an automatic needle connected to a bottle. He hates doing it but he is crafty, he catches me in the neck when Iím feeding. The stuff works though, I only scratch now just for the sheer enjoyment of it.
He is late taking down my ramblings Ė itís September now and Iím feeling a bit off colour. Iím still eating but I think I have pulled a muscle in my back leg. I havenít been down the field grazing for days. Boss is worried as I heard him on the phone to Dave the vet, and he is coming tomorrow - looks like more bloody injections.
Boss did a head count yesterday, he has 27 sows and maiden gilts. A lot of the young ones are sold, he reckons we are eating him out of house and home. I donít hear him complaining when the meat cheques get paid in.
Fox attack last night - all the chickens were in uproar - got boss out of bed. The fox was trying to get into the chicken pens - missus is oblivious to it all, laying there snoring while boss is trying to hold a torch and a rifle trying to shoot said fox. Total tally from three shots - one chicken house door, one feed trough and one goose !!!!! As I said nothings easy ! But the fox did run off - touch wood, the fox hasnít touched one of the new born piglets - yet my wives are really protective.
Another day another ramble - the fox is now deceased, gone to fox heaven with the help of a .22 rifle - quick, clean, no chasing and tearing apart !!!
The kunes have gone down the bottom grazing the ark display area. Funny little things, they donít seem to root like I do. Well boss hopes they wonít, cause this is part of his lawn. I can see all the kids in playing with them. Iím quite jealous really. Iím so big everyone is scared of me but these Kune Kunes are like dogs - they roll over to have their tummys tickled. I heard boss say that at least one of them is pregnant so that will be the patter of tiny, tiny feet. He is gonna stick one in a teacup and photograph it to try and get some marketing for the farm shop and the arks. All very deceptive really because all these tiny pigs still grow to the size of a golden retriever. But if you do have the room for a couple, they are really interesting and affectionate pets.
Missus is not with the boss tonight, she is sleeping next to our Meg,
a beautiful golden retriever who is having a litter tonight.
Boss has asked me to say we are taking reservations on the pups
now - but I reckon he should wait and see how she gets on.
Got to go now, itís the middle of September and we have had 3 days of Indian summer - so Iím going for a dip in my wallow followed by a snooze.